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Animalogy: Conquest of the Animal World

Rapid technological advances during the 1870's helped to
bring forth refrigerated transport. We can thank a genius named
Gustav Swift for developing the first refrigerated railroad car.
Processed meat could be shipped long distances. Prior to this
remarkable invention, animals were transported live. Meat
producers now had a choice.
Refrigerated freight cars could be „parked’ at loading
docks to be filled with meats to be transported vast distances.
Although the CUSY improved the assembly line system of
processing, it was in Cincinnati that this process was first
used. The famed Henry Ford discovered the use of the assembly
line of production from the slaughterhouse operations.
In the CUSY many thousands of carcasses (regardless of
shape, weight, or size) could be processed quickly. Overhead
rails were used to move large carcasses from station to station.
This method is still being used in many slaughterhouses.
Not surprisingly, work in this environment is potentially
harmful to labourers and seriously compromises animal welfare
protections of animals. CUSY labourers had to work „too fast’.
Brutality to animals was the norm.
Knockers used sledge hammers to smash the heads of large
animals. Sometimes, several blows were needed to knock out or
kill an animal. The knocker had to hit a homerun on the first
Women at the CSU comprised twenty percent of the labour
force. They performed jobs that required dexterity (canning,
packaging and cleaning the entrails). These women had to work at
lightning speed.
Accidents during canning, cutting, and cleaning were
commonplace. The repetitive motions on their hands and fingers
resulted in pain; sometimes lifetime injuries.
In order to induce the women workers to work harder and faster,
bonuses were given for extra canning. _
CUSY labourers were hard-working individuals who fed
millions of people. Many of the workers had no alternative job
offers. It was a tough period for many of America’s new
desperate immigrants.
Soon afterwards, ethnic tensions at the CUSY and nearby
Chicago neighbourhoods reached a boiling point.
Ethnic groups at the CUSY were stereotyped. Members of a
„specific’ ethnic group were assigned to work at a designated
station. This is sometimes referred to as 'ethnic
Today, many Latino migrants (Mexicans and Central
Americans) are moving to small town America. Desperate for work,
these Latino migrants end up working in slaughterhouses, factory
farms or as farm labourers. Work conditions are usually